‘Birthday Locker Decorating’ is a Heartbreak Waiting to Happen

'Birthday Locker Decorating' is Heartbreak Waiting to Happen

There’s been an insane amount of talk about locker rooms recently, thanks to Donald Trump’s so-called, ‘locker room talk,’ which upset me greatly. However, I’m even more concerned about actual lockers. Today, I sit here, my heart pounding, extremely worried, wanting to bite my nails, because of my daughter’s school locker. Her locker which hopefully will be decorated today by her friends, since her birthday was over the weekend.

Since she’s a girl at an age where, you know, her friends are her friends one day, and then, meh, not so much another day, I’m worried it might not happen, and this worrying has taken up most of my energy today.

Thirteen year old girls are not the most reliable of people, so even though my daughter expects (and reminded her friends) to decorate her locker, I may have a child come home from school today extremely happy…or extremely disappointed, a thought that breaks my heart.

Decorating lockers has always been a ‘thing’ at my daughter’s school. (As it was when I was in middle and high school, a gazillion years ago.)

In her early years, it was up to the parents to decorate lockers, and since I throw myself into mostly all celebrations with abandon, I would arrive at the school at 7:30 am with bows, tape, wrapping paper, and balloons. Yes, I was THAT parent who decorated, went home to pick my daughter up, and drove her back to school. (Although one year I was told halfway through decorating the outside of her locker that it ‘wasn’t allowed’ by a teacher, so I simply shoved all my streamers and balloons into her locker, so when she opened it, they would all come bursting out. She OMG LOVED IT!)

While one teacher told me it wasn’t allowed, other teachers just walked by me and smiled. There obviously isn’t a universal rule or ‘code of conduct’ for locker decorating!

In any case, not every child has parents or friends to decorate lockers and some of us are left with not only a bad taste about birthday-locker-decorating, but also with sad children who never get their locker decorated. How do you tell a newly minted 13-year old that, in the big picture, who the f*** cares, it’s just a locker? Because 13-year-old girls can’t help but care about these things! (Come on, you were a teen once too!)

I remember when, in her early years at school, there was a rule that you either invited the entire class to your child’s birthday party, or nobody. I was fine with this, because I never wanted any child to feel left out. (Although the stress of planning a party for more than twenty kids, and dealing with the RSVPs and the parents, was as stressful as moving. In fact, moving would have been less stressful…and less expensive.) But at least no one felt left out.

But there are no rules for decorating lockers, and while it’s nice and thrilling for the children who get their lockers decorated by friends, it can be extremely upsetting for others who don’t.

I’m usually not one to damper special occasions, but I can’t help but feeling, as I wait with bated breath for my daughter to call or text me a photo of a decorated locker (which hasn’t come and it’s past noon already, which makes me think that maybe her friends totally forgot!) that maybe there should be a universal rule that either everyone’s locker gets decorated on their birthdays or no one’s does. Perhaps if there was a student club for decorating lockers, and those students know when other children’s birthdays are, then, yes, everyone could indeed have their locker decorated! Maybe…

Yes, yes, I can hear you think, ‘But children need to learn disappointments’, to which my response is, ‘Yes, they do. But not on their birthday!’ And, also, how many adults out there have been disappointed on their birthdays, because their spouses didn’t pull through, their children forgot, their friends didn’t wish them a ‘Happy Birthday!’ on Facebook? Trust me, a lot. So imagine how a hormonal just-turned-13-year-old would feel? If my daughter comes home disappointed, I just don’t know how I’m going to wrap this discussion up with a nice little bow. I don’t even know how to ‘wrap’ up this post, I’m so distraught waiting to hear. How do you feel about decorating lockers? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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